Bonum Certa Men Certa

Patents Roundup: Microsoft, India, Bilski and Some More Cronies

THIS POST summarises the latest developments and analyses involving software patents.

Microsoft



Avistar's legal battles with Microsoft were previously mentioned in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. The company seems to have just scooped up some more ammunition with which to harass Microsoft.

Avistar Communications Corporation (Nasdaq: AVSR), a leading provider of unified visual communications solutions, today announced that it has been granted five new U.S. patents this month, including its 92nd patent, U.S. 7,441,001, covering services involving two or more real-time communications services such as text instant message (IM), video IM and Voice over IP (VoIP).


Avistar--by continuing its lawsuits against Microsoft--can hopefully change Microsoft's mind regarding sofwtare patents.

India



The software patents situation in India was last mention in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. We still track the progression of dreadful lobbying by Microsoft, its partners and other cronies with vested interests. They try to change the law and they break it in the process.

The latest update from the news there indicates that Microsoft's pursuit for changes in the law has not ended.

Thankfully, Indian judges need not venture down such a circuitous path. That a Bilski sort of invention is not patentable in India is crystal clear from section 3(k) of the Indian Patents Act, which prohibits a “business method” from patentability.

Section 3(k) also excludes “computer programs” per se and algorithms from patentability. In order to clarify the ambit of this exclusion, the government is currently evolving guidelines via a patent office manual; a process has spurred a fierce battle between proprietary software firms such as Microsoft Corp. and open-source evangelists such as Red Hat, which claim that the government is attempting to introduce software patents through the back door.


Software patents protest in India



Bilski



From prior coverage of the decision [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] it could almost be concluded that software patents were affected too. They were badly hurt. Concludes Peter Judge:

The open source community will be resting a bit easier - "abstract" patents, for business processes have been ruled out by the US authorities, at least for now.


From Gardner:

Gardner explains that the Patent Bar should stand-up and explain to the PTO and courts that "the application of novel and nonobvious software to otherwise computer hardware is neither 'routine' nor 'typical.'"


Linux Magazine has this summary on the effects (specifically where software patents are concerned).

FOSS lawyers see the decision as a good basis for changes to patent laws. They caution, however, that the software world will have to figure on increasing lobbying efforts from past patent seekers and "beneficiaries of the status quo." The Red Hat press release ends on a positive note with "We have a battle before us, but it is a battle we can win."


Here is the formal reaction from the SFLC.

Of course, patent applications for many software systems will meet this test, and we have only minimal guidance from Bilski on how the test should be applied. However, SFLC believes that this decision takes us one step further toward freeing the United States from “software patents”. The SFLC hopes and expects that this case will lead to fewer patent grants that stand in the way of advancing software freedom.


The formal press response from Red Hat says:

Last week the Federal Circuit issued a major decision, In re Bilski, concerning the subject matter limits of patent law. The case presented questions relating to software patents, an issue of great significance to the free and open source software community, and so Red Hat filed a brief in Bilski to educate the appeals court about FOSS and its problems with the software patents. In the new opinion, the court cited Red Hat’s brief, but declined to settle the issue of when, if ever, software based inventions should be patentable. Even so, the new test in Bilski will probably limit the patentability of software. The war is not over, but the odds of success for FOSS just got better.


An interpretation from Groklaw, regarding Red Hat in part, states in its second part:

There probably isn't a single judge on this court who grew up with computers in his or her life. But look at their backgrounds a little more carefully, and you'll see that while they may not know what you know about tech, they are certainly highly educated and highly accomplished individuals in their area of expertise, namely patent law. Let's focus on those who wrote opinions, now.


Therein lies a very important issue, which was covered here before.

Cronyism



Related to the above, not all legal treatment is objective. It may not be founded on impartial judgment, so trust is lacking. In fact, based on this new report, Barack Obama is already overwhelmed by lobbyists for imaginary property.

The intellectual property community has been quick to begin the anticipation of a Barack Obama presidency in the United States following his election on Tuesday.

[...]

“Obama’s regime is more likely to take the feedback from civil society into consideration and similarly more sceptical towards the pure business interests presented by Big Pharma, etcetera,” he said. “In the end, much will depend on what kind of persons Obama chooses to his cabinet for the key positions pertaining IP policy and global trade.”

Andrew Updegrove, an attorney at technology law firm Gesmer Updegrove in Boston who runs the open-standards blog consortiuminfo.org, said administration changes have little effect on US technical standards policy, since this sector is largely driven by industry - not government.


There is a very timely example of such manipulation. The OpenParliament meeting in Europe saw the intrusion by Microsoft lobbyists.

Note that Mr Lueders is a well-know[n] Microsoft & Software Patents lobbyist, who wants to raise a patent tax on every EU citizen who wants to access gover[n]mental documents via discriminatory patented standards.

The OpenParliament has also drawn the attention of other Microsoft drones ea[r]lier on.


In short, it emerged that CompTIA, a notorious Microsoft pressure group [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], was lobbying the secretariat of the PETI committee in order to sneak into the panel. The OpenParliament OFE people met the PETI secretariat two days ago, and one guy had apparently been lobbied by CompTIA before, saying he needed a balanced (i.e. distorted) and opposite point of view.

So, eventually, even Microsoft managed to sneak in, as usual. There is nothing they don't intrude, including ODF [1, 2, 3, 4], which they mocked (well, they had to pretend otherwise later, in order to gain access to it).

Recordings of the talks are up at the FFII Web site now. Hugo Lueders was pretty bad as he did not have any strong point. If anyone could transcribe the audio, it would be splendid.

In Conclusion



Mark Taylor from Sirius Corporation wrote an article for ZDNet UK. It explains rather bluntly, yet correctly, what the software patents fascination really is about.

Free software acknowledges that truth. Proprietary software does not. Instead, like the banks, proprietary-software vendors have had to justify the cost of their wares by constructing complex arguments about value.

Again, lipstick terms such as 'software patents' and 'intellectual property' have been applied so successfully they have entered the vernacular. Yet even a cursory examination of their real meaning shows them to be spurious. They exist only to perpetuate the dominance of monopolists.

Yes, we are living in a proprietary-software bubble and, like the bursting of the easy-credit bubble, this one is about to burst too — it's a matter of survival.


One current danger is Microsoft's (among others') attempt to define or redefine "open source" to suit their conveniences. Free software is pervasive, but there are those who try to 'dilute' it. This was foreseen a year ago [1, 2, 3].

"That would be because we believe in Free Software and doing the right thing (a practice you appear to have given up on). Maybe it is time the term 'open source' also did the decent thing and died out with you."

--Alan Cox to Eric Raymond

Recent Techrights' Posts

Links 23/04/2024: US Doubles Down on Patent Obviousness, North Korea Practices Nuclear Conflict
Links for the day
Stardust Nightclub Tragedy, Unlawful killing, Censorship & Debian Scapegoating
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
 
Europe Won't be Safe From Russia Until the Last Windows PC is Turned Off (or Switched to BSDs and GNU/Linux)
Lives are at stake
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, April 23, 2024
IRC logs for Tuesday, April 23, 2024
[Meme] EPO: Breaking the Law as a Business Model
Total disregard for the EPO to sell more monopolies in Europe (to companies that are seldom European and in need of monopoly)
The EPO's Central Staff Committee (CSC) on New Ways of Working (NWoW) and “Bringing Teams Together” (BTT)
The latest publication from the Central Staff Committee (CSC)
Volunteers wanted: Unknown Suspects team
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Debian trademark: where does the value come from?
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Detecting suspicious transactions in the Wikimedia grants process
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Gunnar Wolf & Debian Modern Slavery punishments
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
On DebConf and Debian 'Bedroom Nepotism' (Connected to Canonical, Red Hat, and Google)
Why the public must know suppressed facts (which women themselves are voicing concerns about; some men muzzle them to save face)
Several Years After Vista 11 Came Out Few People in Africa Use It, Its Relative Share Declines (People Delete It and Move to BSD/GNU/Linux?)
These trends are worth discussing
Canonical, Ubuntu & Debian DebConf19 Diversity Girls email
Reprinted with permission from disguised.work
Links 23/04/2024: Escalations Around Poland, Microsoft Shares Dumped
Links for the day
Gemini Links 23/04/2024: Offline PSP Media Player and OpenBSD on ThinkPad
Links for the day
Amaya Rodrigo Sastre, Holger Levsen & Debian DebConf6 fight
Reprinted with permission from disguised.work
DebConf8: who slept with who? Rooming list leaked
Reprinted with permission from disguised.work
Bruce Perens & Debian: swiping the Open Source trademark
Reprinted with permission from disguised.work
Ean Schuessler & Debian SPI OSI trademark disputes
Reprinted with permission from disguised.work
Windows in Sudan: From 99.15% to 2.12%
With conflict in Sudan, plus the occasional escalation/s, buying a laptop with Vista 11 isn't a high priority
Anatomy of a Cancel Mob Campaign
how they go about
[Meme] The 'Cancel Culture' and Its 'Hit List'
organisers are being contacted by the 'cancel mob'
Richard Stallman's Next Public Talk is on Friday, 17:30 in Córdoba (Spain), FSF Cannot Mention It
Any attempt to marginalise founders isn't unprecedented as a strategy
IRC Proceedings: Monday, April 22, 2024
IRC logs for Monday, April 22, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
Don't trust me. Trust the voters.
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Chris Lamb & Debian demanded Ubuntu censor my blog
Reprinted with permission from disguised.work
Ean Schuessler, Branden Robinson & Debian SPI accounting crisis
Reprinted with permission from disguised.work
William Lee Irwin III, Michael Schultheiss & Debian, Oracle, Russian kernel scandal
Reprinted with permission from disguised.work
Microsoft's Windows Down to 8% in Afghanistan According to statCounter Data
in Vietnam Windows is at 8%, in Iraq 4.9%, Syria 3.7%, and Yemen 2.2%
[Meme] Only Criminals Would Want to Use Printers?
The EPO's war on paper
EPO: We and Microsoft Will Spy on Everything (No Physical Copies)
The letter is dated last Thursday
Links 22/04/2024: Windows Getting Worse, Oligarch-Owned Media Attacking Assange Again
Links for the day
Links 21/04/2024: LINUX Unplugged and 'Screen Time' as the New Tobacco
Links for the day
Gemini Links 22/04/2024: Health Issues and Online Documentation
Links for the day
What Fake News or Botspew From Microsoft Looks Like... (Also: Techrights to Invest 500 Billion in Datacentres by 2050!)
Sededin Dedovic (if that's a real name) does Microsoft stenography
Stefano Maffulli's (and Microsoft's) Openwashing Slant Initiative (OSI) Report Was Finalised a Few Months Ago, Revealing Only 3% of the Money Comes From Members/People
Microsoft's role remains prominent (for OSI to help the attack on the GPL and constantly engage in promotion of proprietary GitHub)
[Meme] Master Engineer, But Only They Can Say It
One can conclude that "inclusive language" is a community-hostile trolling campaign
[Meme] It Takes Three to Grant a Monopoly, Or... Injunction Against Staff Representatives
Quality control
[Video] EPO's "Heart of Staff Rep" Has a Heartless New Rant
The wordplay is just for fun
An Unfortunate Miscalculation Of Capital
Reprinted with permission from Andy Farnell
[Video] Online Brigade Demands That the Person Who Started GNU/Linux is Denied Public Speaking (and Why FSF Cannot Mention His Speeches)
So basically the attack on RMS did not stop; even when he's ill with cancer the cancel culture will try to cancel him, preventing him from talking (or be heard) about what he started in 1983
Online Brigade Demands That the Person Who Made Nix Leaves Nix for Not Censoring People 'Enough'
Trying to 'nix' the founder over alleged "safety" of so-called 'minorities'
[Video] Inauthentic Sites and Our Upcoming Publications
In the future, at least in the short term, we'll continue to highlight Debian issues
List of Debian Suicides & Accidents
Reprinted with permission from disguised.work
Jens Schmalzing & Debian: rooftop fall, inaccurately described as accident
Reprinted with permission from disguised.work
[Teaser] EPO Leaks About EPO Leaks
Yo dawg!
On Wednesday IBM Announces 'Results' (Partial; Bad Parts Offloaded Later) and Red Hat Has Layoffs Anniversary
There's still expectation that Red Hat will make more staff cuts
IBM: We Are No Longer Pro-Nazi (Not Anymore)
Historically, IBM has had a nazi problem
Bad faith: attacking a volunteer at a time of grief, disrespect for the sanctity of human life
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Bad faith: how many Debian Developers really committed suicide?
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Sunday, April 21, 2024
IRC logs for Sunday, April 21, 2024
A History of Frivolous Filings and Heavy Drug Use
So the militant was psychotic due to copious amounts of marijuana
Bad faith: suicide, stigma and tarnishing
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
UDRP Legitimate interests: EU whistleblower directive, workplace health & safety concerns
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock